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Get Ready For Camping in the Athabasca Region

Spring is here, so it’s time to start planning your camping trips for 2024! If you’re looking to experience a Boreal getaway, take a look at the Athabasca Region!

The Athabasca Region is rich in camping opportunities for all tastes and skill sets. From fully serviced provincial campgrounds to RV parks to backcountry wilderness, you will find a special place to camp! There are more campgrounds than there are weekends in the summer!

Most camping opportunities now have online booking, so click the provided links to secure your spot. Most Athabasca Region campgrounds are open until the end of September, so take advantage of the amazing fall colours and generally mild weather.

When camping in the Athabasca Region, be sure to note weather conditions and fire bans and always have bear smart food storage. If you are using a watercraft, please clean it before and after use to prevent the spread of invasive species. If you use an ATV remember to keep your wheels out of water and stay on designated trails.

 

A view of Long Lake from Long Lake Provincial Park

Long Lake Provincial Park

 

Provincial Campgrounds

Provincial campgrounds in the Athabasca region vary in size and amenities. All have lake access, except Poacher’s Landing, which provides access to the Athabasca River. While most have water available, please bring potable drinking water. Some sites sell firewood.

The Region’s provincial parks are from 1.75 to 2.5 hours from Edmonton and 2.5 to 3 hours from Ft. McMurray.

 

Calling Lake Provincial Park

  • 35 minutes to Athabasca
  • Excellent opportunities for watercraft and fishing
  • Firewood for sale

Chain Lakes Provincial Recreation Area

  • First Come, First Serve (No advanced booking)
  • Unserviced sites with tables and firepits
  • Great for watercraft, fishing and hanging out on the sandy beach

Cross Lake Provincial Park

  • 40 minutes to Athabasca
  • Great hiking and wildlife observation
  • Showers and flush toilets
  • Sani dump for registered campers

Lawrence Lake Provincial Recreation Area

  • 30 minutes to Athabasca
  • Fishing, watercraft and bird watching
  • Easy access from Hwy 2

Long Lake Provincial Park

  • 15 minutes to Boyle
  • Many amenities including a concession, firewood for sale, flush toilets and showers
  • Great for watercraft and has a trail system that connects with the White Earth Valley Natural Area

North Buck Lake Provincial Park

  • 20 minutes to Boyle
  • Amenities include a beach, bike trails, a playground and firewood for sale
  • Excellent opportunities for watersports, fishing and birdwatching

Poacher’s Landing Provincial Recreation Area

  • 40 minutes to Athabasca and 40 minutes to Boyle
  • Boat launch into the Athabasca River and connected to the LaBiche River Wildland
  • Trails for hiking, ATVs and horses, unserviced lots and first come/first serve

 

View of the lake from Jackfish Lake Campground A small tent set up under some trees

Jackfish Lake Campground

 

Athabasca County Campgrounds

Athabasca County manages 9 campgrounds throughout the region. Set in the Boreal forest, all are on lakes and have access to the water. Some are as small as 3 campsites with basic amenities, while Forfar Recreation Park has 72 sites and more amenities. All County sites can be reserved online. Firewood is available at some sites, and others close by. Get supplies in Boyle or Athabasca, and take in one of the many events happening throughout the spring, summer and fall camping seasons.

There are seasonal sites available at Hope Lake and Forfar Recreational Area.  Fill out an application before Jan 31st of the upcoming camping year and pay a non-refundable $50 fee to apply.  You can find more information and the application at the County website: athabascacounty.com/seasonal-camping

Athabasca County campgrounds are around 2 to 2.5 hours from Edmonton and 3 to 3.5 hours from Ft. McMurray.

 

Baptiste Lake

  • 15 minutes to Athabasca
  • Tent sites only
  • Day-use area, playground, pier and boat launch

Forfar Recreation Park

  • 30 minutes to Athabasca
  • Group camping and ATV storage
  • Beach, swimming area, hiking trails and boat launch

Ghost Lake

  • 25 minutes to Athabasca
  • Boat launch for small boats only
  • Great fishing with a fish cleaning station

Hope Lake

  • 25 minutes to Boyle
  • Park office, firewood, ATV compound and cookhouse
  • Excellent for hiking, fishing and swimming

Island Lake

  • 25 minutes to Athabasca
  • Good fishing with a fish cleaning station
  • Birdwatching station and watersports

Jackfish Lake

  • 25 minutes to Athabasca
  • good fishing and fish cleaning station
  • Day-use area with beaches and swimming

Long Lake

  • 25 minutes to Athabasca
  • Only 3 sites, with a boat launch for small boats
  • Fishing, watersports and hiking trails

Narrow Lake

  • 30 minutes to Athabasca
  • Great fishing, with a boat launch for small boats
  • Day-use area and pier

North Buck Lake Narrows

  • 25 minutes to Boyle
  • Boat launch for small boats only
  • Great bird and wildlife watching on the birdwatching platform

 

River Meadows RV Park

 

Private Campgrounds and RV Parks

Mostly catering to seasonal RV campers, the Athabasca Region has several private campgrounds. Some are adjacent to other recreational offerings including golf, disc golf (fling and footgolf, too), hiking, water access, and more.  Some of these private operators offer online booking on their websites. Be sure to check the links for more information and rates.

Athabasca Acres RV Resort

  • 15 minutes east of Athabasca and 20 minutes to Boyle
  • Adjacent to a forested area with trails
  • Across the highway from the Amber Valley Cultural Centre

Athabasca Lions Campground

Blueberry Hill RV Park

  • 10 minutes to Athabasca
  • Seasonal RV park with some nightly camping
  • Adjacent to Athabasca Golf & Country Club

Boyle RV Park

  • Located right in the Village of Boyle
  • Close to the ball diamonds and historical walking trails

Chump Lake Campground

  • Close to Boyle, on Chump Lake
  • Beach and day-use area

Corrigal Lake (Round Lake) Campground

  • Close to Wandering River
  • Limited amenities
  • Access to lake for small watercraft

Highway 63 RV Park

  • Close to Wandering River
  • Full-service RV park

Katherine’s Kamping Korner

  • 15 minutes to Grassland
  • Sites have power, water and sewer and WiFi is free

view of trees and water feature at Rocky Lanes Fairways and Recreation Golf fairway at Riverbank Golf and RV Park

Left – Rocky Lane Fairways & Recreation | Right – Riverbank Golf & RV Park

 

Long Island RV Resort

  • 45 minutes to Athabasca
  • Serviced seasonal campground

Riverbank Golf & RV Park

  • 5 minutes to Wandering River
  • Mostly seasonal sites, but do have overflow sites
  • 9 Hole scenic golf course

River Meadows RV Park

Rocky Lane Fairways & Recreation

  • 10 minutes to Athabasca
  • Unserviced sites with firepits and picnic tables; firewood available
  • The golf course includes traditional golf, disc golf, fling golf and soccer golf

Shoreline Shore Resort

South Baptiste Cabins, RV & Camping

  • 15 minutes to Athabasca
  • Fully serviced campsites and shower/laundry facilities
  • Close to quadding trails and Baptiste Lake water access

 

Back Country Camping/Wilderness Areas

If you’re looking for your next great adventure, check out the backcountry camping in the Athabasca Regions wilderness areas! Experience the boreal forest up close and personal in some untouched forest areas.

These areas have limited amenities and are set in boreal forest areas including wetlands, small lakes and wildlife. Some areas may have limited cell coverage. Use caution during hunting and fire seasons. Many trails are ATV-friendly, but please stay on the provided trails to preserve our amazing forested areas.

 

George’s Point Walk-in/Boat-in Tenting

  • Located at Cross Lake Provincial Park
  • Hike the trail (7 km, check for conditions) or use your watercraft to cross the lake
  • Has some amenities like picnic tables, fire pits and toilets.

Hubert Lake Wildland

  • Random backcountry camping
  • ATV trails

La Biche River Wildland

  • Access from Poacher’s Landing
  • Undisturbed Boreal forest setting; random backcountry camping
  • Good for horseback riding, ATV

Otter-Orloff Lakes Wildland

  • Random backcountry camping
  • The access road can have seasonally poor conditions

Peace River Wilderness Trail

  • Part of the Trans Canada Trail
  • The staging area is 25 minutes north of Athabasca
  • Has some informal campsites with toilet facilities

 

 


Blueberry Hill RV Park

 

More Info

Sani-Dumps

Blueberry Hill, Forfar, Long Lake Provincial Park and Cross Lake Provincial Park have sani-dumps. Most private and provincial sites are for guest use only. Contact your host for details.

Public access:

Fishing Licences

Cheap Seat Sports

Canadian Tire Athabasca

Fire Bans

Please check here for current fire ban alerts.

Purchase Firewood

You can purchase firewood in multiple places in the County or Athabasca. Click here for listings. Many local gas stations and hardware stores sell bundled firewood.

 

 

Enjoy Your Trip

Whether you choose to RV or hike into the wilderness, you’ll experience the Boreal forest, lakes, rivers, wildlife and people of the region at their finest! You’ll want to return for your next camping getaway, and bring your friends too!

To make sure you enjoy your trip to the maximum, be sure to bring appropriate gear and supplies, make a plan and plan to have fun. If you have any questions about camping in the Athabasca Region, email ted@athabascacounty.com

Share your Athabasca Region camping experience on social media using the hashtags #LiveLifeOutside and #VisitTheAthabascaRegion.

12 Winter Getaways in the Athabasca Region

This winter, get out of town for a day, a weekend or a week to the Athabasca Region! The air is crisp, the forest is quiet, and there is a getaway for you to discover.

Whether looking for unique thrift items, relaxing with your family around a cozy fireplace or sledding the Athabasca River at a remote cabin resort, there is a trip that fits your interests, timeline and budget.

Be sure to visit our Events calendar to see what is happening in the Region during your stay!

Winter activities are dependent on weather and snow conditions. If you need information about local conditions email: ted@athabascacounty.com or contact your host.

Winter 2024 dates for the Athabasca Farmers’ Market are: Feb 17, Mar 2,  16 & 30


Saturday Day Trips

 

1. Boyle History Walk, Lunch & Downtown!

When: Any Saturday!
For a Saturday day trip, visit the Village of Boyle! About 1 hour 45 minutes from Edmonton and 2.5 hours from Fort McMurray, Boyle makes a great day trip to get out of the city. It offers small-town charm, a walking trail and access to cottage country and wilderness in Athabasca County East.

  • When you arrive, do the Boyle Historical Walking Trails through town
  • Grab a delicious lunch at one of Boyle’s great restaurants!
  • Stroll through Downtown and check out the unique shops and small-town charm
  • Be home for the hockey game!

 

 

2. Athabasca Farmers’ Market & Muskeg Creek Hike/Snowshoe/Ski

When: Saturdays in February and March
An active day trip that gives you a chance to stock up on some of the great artisan goodies and crafts at the Farmers’ Market, then experience the Muskeg Creek trail system!

 

 

3. Downtown Athabasca Thrifts & Finds Crawl

When: Any Saturday!

Downtown Athabasca hosts an eclectic selection of second-hand and thrift shops, fashionable boutiques and unique finds! We have planned out a route for you right here: Athabasca Thrift and Finds Crawl

 

 

4. Athabasca History Walk

When: Any Saturday!

If you love history and walking, you’ll love the Athabasca Historical Walking Tour. It winds its way through Downtown Athabasca, with interpretive signage telling the story of the settlement of Athabasca through its historical buildings.

  • Fuel up at Paddymelon with a hot drink and snack
  • Head down to the Train Station for the first stop on the tour
  • Follow the tour book. Download Here
  • Finish off with a delicious meal at a Downtown restaurant: Family Dining   Fast Food

 

 


Overnight Getaways

 

5. Friday Night, Date Night

When: Any Friday/Saturday!

Have a relaxing “date night’ getaway with your love!

Stay in Athabasca: Hotel/Motels Short-Term Rentals

  • Saturday morning, grab a coffee and a wrap at Paddymelon Gifts, Espresso & Eatery.
  • Check out downtown shops
  • Stroll Rotary Trail at the Riverfront Park
  • Visit the Farmers Market at the Athabasca Regional Multiplex on your way back home (various weekends in Feb/March)

 

 

6. Best of Athabasca

When: Weekends in February and March

On this active weekend itinerary, you’ll experience some of the best that the Town of Athabasca has to offer.

  • Arrive Saturday early afternoon, go to Farmer’s Market and pick up some home-style treats and artisan goodies
  • Rent snowshoes from the Multiplex and hike the Muskeg Creek Trails
  • After supper Downtown, stroll Rotary Trail/Riverfront Park,
  • Drinks at Neighbour’s Pub to end the evening!

Stay in Athabasca: Hotel/Motels Short-Term Rentals

 

 

7. Lake Getaway – West

When: Anytime, based on availability.

If you’re looking for something closer to nature, the west Athabasca County Lake Country has a few lakeside cabins to rent. Relax with family or friends in scenic Boreal lake settings.

  • Arrive Saturday, hit the Athabasca Farmers’ Market (www.facebook.com/athabascafarmersmarket) and stores to stock up on the way through town
  • Check into your cabin rental
  • Snowmobile the vast River Runner’s trail system
  • Icefish on the lake
  • Contact your host for their recommendations on winter recreational activities

 

 

8. Lake Getaway – East

When: Anytime, based on availability.

The East side of Athabasca County has a few cabins to rent, too. Surround yourself with a picturesque Boreal setting.

  • Arrive Saturday, stop in Boyle to stock up on the way through town
  • Check into your cabin rental
  • Take advantage of the Chump Lake trails for snowshoeing and snowmobiling
  • Contact your host for their recommendations for winter recreational activities

 

 


Wilderness Experiences

 

9. River Runners Snowmobile Trails

When: Anytime, based on snow conditions!

If you love sledding, the Athabasca region has some great trails, especially routed for snowmobilers. Take a look at their maps and info here. Call ahead to check conditions and pay your trail fee.

You can stay in Athabasca or rent a West County cabin on Airbnb.

 

10. Grand Rapids Snowmobile Adventures

When: Various Weekends 

Grand Rapids Wilderness Adventures hosts weekend expeditions at their remote cabin resort located on the banks of the Athabasca River. They provide cozy cabins, meals and more.

Learn more here

 

11. Reel Angling Ice Fishing

When: Anytime based on ice conditions!

Let an experienced local guide show you the best spots to ice fish! Ice fishing packages for the day, weekend or week are available. Take a look at their website for more info or contact them at:

780-916-9768

 

12. Winter Wilderness Camping

When: Anytime!

The Athabasca Region offers some excellent winter back-country camping:

La Biche River Wildland Provincial Park

Hubert Lake Wildland Provincial Park

Peace River Wilderness Trail

Winter camping tips:

  • Dress in layers
  • Be prepared for all kinds of weather
  • You may need to bring firewood
  • You may need to bring potable water
  • Showers and flush toilets will most likely be closed
  • Animal-proof food storage is essential
  • Make sure someone knows your location and timeline

Follow Athabasca Region Tourism on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to post pics of your winter adventures. Tag us at @visitathabasca #VisitTheAthabascaRegion #LiveLifeOutside

7 Winter Walks You Can Do In the Athabasca Region

Ready for an active getaway?

For some, the chilly weather makes them curl up under a blanket and stay cozy until spring. If you’re the opposite, and the brisk air makes you want to get outside and move, then the Athabasca region has some great outdoor walks that can be done in the winter!

If it snows a lot, most of these walks are well-maintained sidewalks, so no trudging. On the nature trails, grab some snowshoes or cross-country skis and move across the land and snow that way.

If you use AllTrails, check out the Athabasca region maps and contribute your own walk/run/ski to add to the route listings. We have added some AllTrail links to the article.

Whatever walk you choose (or walks, because how can you choose just one?), you’ll see how easy it is to enjoy the outdoors and experience an active getaway for the day, weekend or week in the Athabasca Region! #LiveLifeOutside


1. Boyle Historical Walk

On the outskirts of the Village of Boyle, you’ll find the Boyle Historical Walking Trails. The trail system was established by the Boyle Community Betterment Committee to commemorate the centennial of the village.

Starting at the Boyle Campground, follow the trail to the west. You can then turn south and then back down to town.

 

Food and Accommodations in Boyle

After your hike, hit up one of Boyle’s homestyle eating establishments like Boyle Pizza House, Pepper Tree Café, or Hooters Truck Stop Restaurant.

Boyle is 3 hours from Fort McMurray and 1 hour 40 minutes from Edmonton. If you want to stay overnight, check out the accommodations: Airbnb, and Boyle Hotels.

 

2. Athabasca Rotary Trail

The Athabasca Rotary Trail is a paved walking trail that takes you from one end of Athabasca right to the Muskeg Creek Trail system. If you started on the east end of Athabasca, you could follow the trail down the hill, under the HWY 55 bridge, west along the riverfront until you get to Hwy 55 again. You could continue to the west and meet up with the Muskeg Trail System.

There are informational signs, telling the story of the Athabasca River and Athabasca Landing. There is a great view of the Old Bridge in the distance.

The Riverfront walk is about 2.5 km long, relatively flat and fully paved. The Riverfront Park has firepits to warm up with, with firewood for sale at the Husky Market across the highway.

  • The Rotary trail is cleared by the Town after a snowfall.

Rotary Riverfront on AllTrails

 

 

 

 

3. Athabasca History Walk

a display of antique and historical items at the Athabasca Archives

The Town of Athabasca played an important role in the history of Northern Alberta. Athabasca Landing was a transportation hub connecting Edmonton and northern settlements. The river was the highway the town the gathering area.

Many of the historical buildings and sites remain in the town and the Athabasca Historical Society created a historical walk to tell their stories.

The walk wanders through Downtown Athabasca, down to the Riverfront and back. End your walk with a visit to the extensive collection at the Athabasca Archives.

Read the Blog

Download the PDF

  • The sidewalks on this walk are generally cleared after a snowfall.

 

 

 

4. Athabasca Thrift & Finds Crawl

Love thrifting, unique finds and a good walk? Then the Athabasca Thrift and Finds crawl is for you!

This walk visits the excellent thrift stores Athabasca hosts, with high quality and unique second-hand finds. You’ll also visit some unique boutiques that curate eclectic and thoughtful collections.

There are plenty of stops for snacks, meals or coffee, so take your time and refresh yourself during your exciting haul!!!

Read the Blog for route and descriptions.

  • The sidewalks on this walk are generally cleared after a snowfall.

 

5. Muskeg Creek Trails

One of the best attractions in the Town of Athabasca is the Muskeg Creek Park trail system! The park is located on the west side of Athabasca, adjacent to the University of Athabasca campus. It is a beautiful slice of the Boreal Forest, within the Town of Athabasca.

There are multiple loops of varying distances and elevations.

“The Muskeg Creek Valley is a steep-sided, heavily wooded ravine located west of the downtown area and adjacent to Athabasca University.  Covering an area of 17.5 square kilometres with an elevation change of 50 meters, it is easy to get away from the sights and sounds of the nearby urban area.”

  • In the winter, the trail system is groomed for in-line and skate cross-country skiing. You can rent snowshoes from the Athabasca Regional Multiplex, as well.

Learn more and download a map here

Muskeg Creek on AllTrails

University Loop on AllTrails

 

6. Athabasca Landing/Trans Canada Trail

The Athabasca Landing/Trans Canada Trail is a historical travel route that followed the Tawatinaw River Valley from Edmonton in the 1800’s.

The trailhead is situated right in the Town of Athabasca, with easy access from Hwy 55 and plenty of parking. This is an in & out trail that can be followed all the way to the Village of Colinton. You can also park at the trailhead in Colinton. The point-to-point distance is approx 13 km.

  • This trail is not groomed in the winter. Some sections may become packed, but snowshoes or skis are recommended. Bridge repair is ongoing and may be unpassable.

Athabasca Landing Trail on AllTrails

Follow the trail to Colinton

 

7. Centennial Park – North Shore of Athabasca River

When you look across the Athabasca River from Riverfront Park, you will see a big welcome sign on the north shore. The sign, and an amazing view of the Town of Athabasca, can be found at Athabasca Centennial Park. The also serves as a starting point for a walk along the river and into the forest.

Walk west of the park along the River Ave trail. You can turn and walk north for about another 1 km. The total distance is about 3 km.

  • This is an in-and-out trail that is not groomed in the winter.

 

Bonus Walk!

Would you like to experience the terrain that the triathletes participating in the Kapâwinihk Wilderness Triathlon run/walk? It’s a winding trail through gorgeous Boreal forest that has some great views of the Athabasca River. The trail system is part of the River Meadows RV Park but is open to the public. The owners ask that you call or text 780-689-1565 to let them know you are on the property.

Before you enter the RV park, you will see a parking area across from a construction site. The entrance to the trails is just down from there. If you plan on hiking the whole loop, please be aware that two sections cross water, so use caution. 

 

Food and Accommodations in Athabasca

Athabasca has some fantastic restaurants that will serve up a delicious meal to fuel up your walk or warm you up when you are done. If you want to spend a weekend or more, you could choose from chain hotels, Mom & Pop motels and short-term rentals.

Check out our Food listings:

Check out our Accommodations:

 

Share Your Walks

Share your photos from your Athabasca Region outdoor adventures by using the #VisitTheAthabascaRegion hashtag.

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Fall Events in the Athabasca Region

While the days are getting cooler and leaves have changed their colour, not everything in the Athabasca Region is getting ready to tuck in for winter! Our Fall events schedule is heating up and getting ready to rock!

Take a look at some of our feature events coming up in October and November! And be sure to check our Events Calendar to see any updates.

 

 


 

Heartwood Folk Club Fall Series

The Heartwood Folk Club is a staple of Athabasca’s arts & culture scene. They present a seasonal series of amazing musicians from around Alberta, Canada and the world!

Performances happen in the fantastic Nancy Appleby Theatre, an intimate setting with a retro feel and great lighting and sound!

Make it a date-night-getaway and enjoy 10% off your meal at both Johnny’s Eatery or 49th Street Grill. Just show your server your ticket to the show!

Get more details here about the Heartwood Folk Club and their Fall 2023 Concert Series and how to buy tickets.

 

 

Tina Hart – September 29

“Spice up your night with the delightful sounds of Tina Hartt singing a coquette-ish mixture of originals, jazz standards and French chansons with a playful retro Parisienne cafe twist. Intimate, rhythmic and fearless – fully expect a toe-tapping soirée along with some downright pleasant surprises!

From Montreal but now living in Calgary. Tina has sung in a gamut of musical ensembles: “Cowtown Opera” (Calgary), Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, the 18-piece GTA Swing Band (Toronto), acapella jazz quartet “Tongues ‘n Groove”(Toronto), “Tina Hartt Quintet” (Toronto), and the rock bands “Rebel Hartt’s” and “Papa So Mean” (Montreal).”

Learn more about Tina here.

 

 

 

Ray Bonneville – October 14

“Acclaimed raconteur Ray Bonneville strips his bluesy Americana down to its essentials and steeps it in the humid grooves of the South, creating a compelling poetry of hard living and deep feeling. His ninth release, At King Electric, delivers more than his trademark grit and groove. Songs such as “The Next Card to Fall” and “Codeine” gleam with intimate narratives of characters reaching for hope and wrestling with despair. Rich guitar and harmonica lines resonate over spare but spunky rhythms, while Bonneville’s deep, evocative voice confesses life’s harsh realities.”

Learn more about Ray here.

 

 

Jake Vaadeland & The Sturgeon River Boys – November 2

“Jake Vaadeland is a self-taught multi-instrumentalist and songwriter from Saskatchewan, Canada. His traditional sound and unique style could be defined as a blend of Bluegrass and 50’s Rockabilly, with Jake also specializing on guitar and banjo in addition to his impressive vocals.

Jake strives to write and play with a focus on storytelling and messages that he hopes his audience can relate to, all packaged in foot-stomping, high-energy performances with The Sturgeon River Boys.”

Learn more about Jake here.
 

Crystal Plamondon – November 17

“Crystal Plamondon hails from Plamondon, a town in Northern Alberta founded by her Franco-American great-grandfather in 1908. Crystal is a talented bilingual singer/songwriter/performer with a 35-year track record of consistently delivering passionate concerts that cover an emotional range from heart-warming ballads; as she demonstrates in her sixth studio album “TORCH” realizing a dream to sing Jazz classics; to her rockin’ country, cajun, roots style. Crystal never fails to connect with her audience because of her warmth, wit and report! Crystal has toured extensively in live music venues, theatres, and festivals throughout North America and Europe.”

Learn more about Crystal here.

 


 

Boyle Thanksgiving Farmers’ Market – October 5

Visit the lovely Village of Boyle the Thursday before Thanksgiving, October 5, from 12 pm to 3 pm, to stock up on treats, veggies and unique handicrafts for your holiday festivities!

If you’re heading from Fort McMurray to Edmonton (or vice versa), leave early so you can visit this great, accredited Farmers’ Market!

The market is held at the Boyle Community Center in Downtown Boyle. There is good parking on the street. Google map link to Community Centre.

 

 

 

Athabasca Farmers’ Market Fall Schedule

You know summer is coming to a close, 🙁 , when the Athabasca Farmers’ Market moves to its indoor venue at the Athabasca Multiplex! But don’t be too sad, because you can still get all the amazing food, treats, crafts and more from the region’s market vendors. Same local products, cozy indoor setting.

Grab a snack and then head over to Muskeg Creek Trails for a gorgeous hike afterwards.

Upcoming dates: October 7 & 21, November 4 & 18, December 2, 9, 16

Check out their Facebook or Instagram profiles for more info!

 

 

 


 

Monster Pro Wrestling

Are you ready to rumble? Get your pro-wrestling fix at the Monster Pro Wrestling: Rise Up! Saturday, October 14th, 2023 at the Rotary Fieldhouse at the Athabasca Regional Multiplex.

Doors Open: 6:00PM
Show Time: 7:00PM

Tickets:
$25 Each Advanced (Contact any MPW wrestler/staff member or contact mpwrestlingevents@gmail.com)
$30 Each At The Door


 

One Book, One Community

“One Book, One Community (OBOC) is an event in Athabasca designed to encourage people to all read the same book and then come together to discuss it and participate in a program of related events. One Book, One Community-Athabasca supports reading, celebrates books and writing, promotes Canadian authors, and builds a sense of community through the shared experience of reading. OBOC is run by the One Book, One Community Committee which consists of local book club members, library staff, and members of community betterment groups.”

Join the Athabasca community in learning more about the refugee experience with the immersive events the One Book, One Community program hosts.

Learn more here.

 

 

 

Book Discussion – October 14

The book for the One Book, One Community program this year is Homes: A Refugee Story by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah and Winnie Yeung.

Join members of the community and the OBOC committee to discuss this award-winning account of two people’s refugee stories.

2 – 4 pm, Athabasca Seniors Center. Lots of great parking. Map to the Centre here.

 

 

 

 

Author Chat and Film Screening – October 21

Meet Author Winnie Yeung as she chats about the book she co-authored: Homes: A Refugee Story.

Then enjoy a screening of the award-winning film, Peace By Chocolate, the award-winning film about Syrian refugees who build a life in Nova Scotia one delicious piece of chocolate at a time. Based on a true story.

Both events at the Nancy Appleby Theatre. The chat begins at 5:30 pm and the film at 7 pm.

 

 

 

 

Taste of Athabasca – November 4

Get your tastebuds ready for a tour through Athabasca’s multi-cultured community! Community members will be cooking up traditional and cultural treats to share! Grab some bite-size nibbles from around the world and learn more about what makes Athabasca and the region a truly multicultural community!

By donation at the Athabasca Regional Multiplex from 11 am to 1pm.
 

 

 

 


 

Fall Into Place October 21

 

 

 

Rock out at Neighbours Pub with local talent Fall Into Place! These local rockers will be bringing the tunes and Neighbours will be serving up delicious food and beverages! Come out and support local live music!

Wear a costume (celebrate Halloween early!) to win prizes!  The band starts at 9 pm. No minors.

Check out Fall Into Place here.
 

 

 


 

‘Tis the Season: Moonlight Madness & Market – November 24 & 25

Kick off the holiday season with the Moonlight Madness Festival and Market! There will be a parade, a market at the Multiplex and more.

Stay tuned for details!

 

 

 


 

Make it a Getaway!

With so many fun, entertaining and sometimes thought-provoking events coming up in the Athabasca region, why not plan a weekend or long weekend getaway? There are some perfect date nights, so get out of the city with your S.O. or friends and experience the arts & culture scene of the Athabasca Region!

Get information about upcoming events, dining, accommodations and more at visitathabasca.ca!

Thrift & Finds Crawl in Downtown Athabasca!

If you love thrifting and finding unique gifts and homeware, yummy coffee and treats, and delicious brunches and lunches, Athabasca has an afternoon of fun for you!

Downtown Athabasca is perfectly set up for an awesome “Thrift & Finds Crawl”. If you don’t know what a “thrift crawl” is, think pub crawl but with second-hand shopping! And here in Athabasca, you can visit some unique retailers along the way, too.

For this order of stops, you could park at the Riverfront, but there are other parking options where you could start your crawl. There’s parking on 51st Street and you could loop around from there.

Wear walking shoes, this crawl is about 3 km long. The Town of Athabasca is built on the Athabasca River Valley, so there are some hills. There are a lot of places for refreshments along the way if you need a break.

If you are looking for more thrift & finds opportunities, there are a few to drive to. You’ll never know what you’ll find, so it’s worth it.

Ready, Set, Crawl…

1. Paddymelon Gifts, Espresso & Eatery – 4911 – 49 Street

Starting from the Athabasca Riverfront Park, walk south (away from the river) on 49th Street. About halfway up the block, you’ll come to the first stop.

Paddymelon Gifts, Espresso & Eatery is a great place to start your crawl. Fuel up on one of their espresso drinks and an in-house baked treat, or a breakfast wrap! They have a daily lunch special and other delicious meal items.

Paddymelon isn’t just on the list as a fuel stop, but as a place to find unique home decor, candles, scarves, Canadian-made jewelry, baby gifts, books, and more!

www.facebook.com/PaddymelonGifts

2. A Little Bit of Everything – 4913-49 Street

Just a couple of doors down from Paddymelon is A Little Bit of Everything

A Little Bit of Everything is exactly that: some used, some new, some food, some clothing, some arts & crafts! They are a local favourite, always bringing in new and exciting items and crafts.

Facebook Page

3. Ella & Birch Collective – 4916 A 50 St

From A Little bit of Everything, continue walking south (back past Paddymelon) to the corner, turn right and walk over to 50th St. Turn right and walk down the east side of the block until you come to Ella & Birch. You can’t miss it… they always have an amazing window display.

Ella & Birch Collective is a boutique with a collection of clothing, accessories, soap and spa products made and designed by women in Canada! Comfy well-made clothing, handmade soap (the store smells amazing),  lovely jewelry and more.

www.ellaandbirch.ca

4. Bubel’s  – 4922 50 St

After leaving Ella & Birch, continue down the block (north) about 3 buildings down. There you will find Bubel’s department store.

Bubel’s is a family-owned and operated department store that harkens to the past. It carries clothing and footwear for the whole family! They also carry a unique selection of swimwear, toys, games, models, movies, CDs and vinyl records.

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5. Glas Floral Studio – 5003 50 Ave

From Bubel’s, continue walking towards the river. When you get to the corner you’ll see a newer building kitty corner. That’s where you’ll find Glas Floral Studio.

“Glas offers unique home decor curated from designers throughout Canada and the United States. Our preference lies with local, woman-owned companies and items with a story, quality of material and eco-friendly practices.”

Glas always has interesting and inspiring finds of all kinds. Their flower art is one of a kind, too.

www.glasfloral.com

6. Rhi-Defined New & Used –  5506 50 Ave

From a Glas Floral, you could walk to the Train Station. On the west side of the station is a walkway that leads to the Rotary Trail which follows the river. Walk west (away from downtown) on the Rotary Trail until it swings up and meets the highway again. Cross the highway there and you’ll see Rhi-Defined New & Used.

Rhi-Defined is a classic thrift store with a mix of furniture, household goods and clothing. They also have new jewelry, collectables and more.

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7. Riddle & Gift Shop at Athabasca Native Friendship Centre – 4919 53 St

From Rhi-Defined, walk along the highway back towards Downtown until you get to 53 ST. Turn right and the second building up is the ANFC.

At the Athabasca Native Friendship Centre, you can get 2 shopping experiences in one! Upstairs is their Gift Shop which has a beautiful selection of Indigenous-made gifts, jewellery and arts. Downstairs you’ll find Riddle, their second-hand store. Tons of clothing, household goods and more are available.

If you do the crawl on a Friday, they will sometimes be serving delicious homemade soup and bannock. Also a local favourite!

Riddle Facebook
ANFC Facebook

8. Lolly Pop Thrift Shop

When you exit the Friendship Centre, head back down to the highway. Continue east (towards downtown) until 51st ST. Turn right and go up the block about 5 buildings. You’ll find Lolly Pop Thrift Shop there.

Lolly Pop Thrift Shop has a great selection of used housewares, clothing and more. They pride themselves on having a neat and tidy space for you to do your best thrifting! Another family-owned business that delivers great service.

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9. Flowers by Christina

And finally, to your last stop, Flowers by Christina. Head back down to the highway from Lolly Pop and walk back to the main street (50th ST). Turn right and head to halfway up the block to find Flowers by Christina.

Flowers by Christina has a beautiful assortment of gifts and flowers for any budget. Home decor, food items and more, plus their gorgeous flowers.

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Take A Break

If you’re getting tired from carrying your haul, no worries, there are plenty of places for snacks, drinks and meals along your route. From convenience stores, fast food, food trucks, Chinese food, family dining and pubs, Downtown Athabasca has it!

Get something to go and enjoy it at the Riverfront Park. There are picnic tables and seating with river views for your convenience.

Take a look at our website listings for more info on where to eat/drink: www.visitathabasca.ca

 

Other Thrift & Finds in the Region

Country Bliss Treasures & Gifts – 5114  3 St, Boyle

“Welcome to Country Bliss! We are very excited to share some wonderful decor! Whether you’re searching for a piece of character to fill that special area of your home or need a heartwarming gift for your loved ones…..we have it!!”

Facebook Page

Second Time Round & More – 5800 Elm Dr, Boyle

Second Time Round has an amazing selection of thrift items, from clothing, household goods, furniture and more.

Remember, small towns have some of the best thrift items around!

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What will you find?

If you are looking for a day trip out of the city, or want to spend some time before an event in Athabasca, be sure to take on the Downtown Thrift & Finds Crawl. You’ll be sure to find some items that won’t be found anywhere else!

For more information about retail stores in  the Athabasca Region, check out our website: www.visitathabasca.ca/things-to-do/shopping/stores-boutiques

 

Golf & Stay in the Athabasca Region

Are you looking to combine a getaway with a great round of golf (or two)? Look no further than the Athabasca Region!

We have some amazing choices that pair scenic and sometimes challenging courses set in the Boreal, with camping, vacation rentals or in-town accommodations. Check it out!

Main photo courtesy of Athabasca Golf & Country Club

 

Athabasca Golf & Country Club

The Athabasca Golf & Country Club is located just north of the Town of Athabasca. It is nestled in the Boreal forest along the banks of the Athabasca River. It is considered one of the premiere courses in Northern Alberta and challenges the most experienced players.

scene of trees and golf fairway with green in the distance

Athabasca Golf and Country Club was originally a nine hole layout designed in 1963. The course was expanded to a full eighteen holes in 1995 by Sid Puddicombe. Now with a recent $1.8 million renovation (also by Puddicombe) it boasts the 4th most difficult challenges in all of Canada. This beautiful course has much to offer even the most experienced golfer. During your round you may encounter a variety of wildlife including fox, moose, deer or even the occasional bear. Come test your skill and enjoy the natural beauty of Northern Alberta. – AGCC website.

The AGCC is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year! To celebrate they are hosting a 60th Anniversary Championship Tournament on September 10, 2023. If you haven’t experienced the area in the fall, this would be a fantastic way to soak in the usually warm and dry weather and the fall colours.

They also host multiple themed tournaments and special events, including the upcoming Road to Hope fundraiser on September 7, 2023.

The clubhouse is home to their Pro Shop and the Fox Den Restaurant. The pro shop offers all the clothing and equipment you will need for a successful round. Please note that the club does have a dress code of preferred golf attire and footwear.

The Fox Den serves up a mean burger (veggie choice available, too), fish and chips, salads and delicious craft beers. They boast a gorgeous patio to enjoy your meal and the view after your round.

If you are looking for camping accommodations, the Blueberry Hill RV park is just across from the clubhouse. They also manage the Lions Campground, which serves as their overflow. About 10 minutes away is the scenic River Meadows RV Park, situated right on the river.  If you want to rough it a bit, check out the Riverside Recreation Area about 10 minutes away.

If you are looking for a hotel/motel or AirBnB, Athabasca has many choices. Check out our “Stay” section for details.

The AGCC has partnered with the Tawatinaw Valley Retreat Bed & Breakfast for a Stay and Play Package! The Tawatinaw Valley Retreat is about 40 minutes from Athabasca and is set in the gorgeous Tawatinaw River valley. After you are finished golfing, take in the view of the lake at the end of the dock or go on a stroll. It’s a peaceful place away from everything! Check out their website for details on the package.

 

Contact Information

Website: https://athabascagolf.ca/
Phone:  780-675-4599
Email: info@athagolf.com
Photo courtesy of Athabasca Golf & Country Cub

 

Rocky Lane Fairways & Recreation

Rocky Lane Fairways & Recreation offers fantastic, family-friendly recreation for all skill levels. And if you aren’t a golfer, they have something for you, too!

golf course scene with a pond in foreground

Located about 10 minutes south of the Town of Athabasca, just off Hwy 2, Rocky Lane has a 9-hole par 3 course, disc golf, soccer golf, fling golf and a golf simulator. It is a gorgeous course with water features and lots of lush landscaping. The really cool thing is that the course has been designed so that your crew can golf, throw discs or fling balls together, all at the same time!

Rocky Lane has a 10-stall campground as well, so you can camp & play without having to leave the site. Each stall has a picnic table and fire pit. You can purchase firewood for your evening s’mores, too.

If you’re looking for a space for an event like a wedding or family gathering, Rocky Lane can accommodate you. They have tables and chairs, a sound system, event tents and more.

 

Contact Information

Website: https://rockylanefairways.wixsite.com/recreation
Phone: 780-327-9671
Email: rockylanefairways@gmail.com
Photo courtesy of Rocky Lane Fairways & Recreation

 

Skeleton Lake Golf & Country Club

view of golf fairway with some sparse trees at the end

Skeleton Lake Golf and Country Club is located in the Summer Village of Bondiss, about 8 km east of the Village of Boyle, with access off Hwy 663. This is a scenic 9-hole course that is as fun as it is challenging.

Their clubhouse has a licensed restaurant and lounge and their pro shop features great golf merchandise along with cart and club rentals.

If you are wanting to stay overnight, Shoreline Camping and Fishing Resort is located just on the other side of the bay. There is a gorgeous lakefront  AirBnB cabin in Bondis as well.

 

Contact Information

Website: https://www.skeletonlakegolfandcountryclub.com/
Phone:  780-689-2455
Email:  slgolf@mcsnet.ca
Photo courtesy of  Skeleton Lake Golf and Country Club

 

 

Northern Ridge Golf & RV Resort

fall scene on golf course with trees on both sides of fairway

Also not too far from Boyle, about 12 km south, is Northern Ridge Golf & RV Resort.

This is another scenic 9-hole course set in the Boreal forest. They have a licensed clubhouse with a deck that overlooks Hole 5.

They have over 30 fully serviced campsites and a few that have power only.

Located close to a paintball course and Long Lake Provincial Park, which offers camping and lake access, this site makes for a getaway with lots to do!

 

Contact Information

Website: https://www.northernridgegolf.ca/index.html
Phone: 780-576-3939
Email:  information@northernridgegolf.ca
Photo courtesy of Northern Ridge Golf and RV Resort

 

Riverbank Golf & RV Park

Last but not least, at the far northern end of the region, you’ll find Riverbank Golf & RV Park

scene of a golf course hole overlooking a pond

This hidden gem is nestled along the Wandering River about 1 hour north of Athabasca and 2 hours south of Fort McMurray. This 9-hole course is a Par 36 regulation course that will challenge you while you soak up the Boreal forest setting.

They host a number of tournaments over the season, with the next public one set for August 26th

Riverbank has a licensed restaurant with a full-service menu that includes breakfast, lunch and dinner selections.

They also have a 50-unit RV park:

Riverbank RV Park has 50 fully serviced RV sites that are 50 feet wide by 60 to 100 feet long. Unlike many RV Parks in the area, which are built in the middle of an open field, our sites either back onto the river or have beautiful views over the river and golf course. Come and have a look for yourself to compare to the other parks! Power, fresh water and no hassle sewer make the difference in a scenic river valley setting. – Riverbank website.

Contact Information

Website: https://www.riverbankgolfandrv.com/home.html
Phone: 780-771-2582
Email:  riverbankgolfandrv@gmail.com
Photo courtesy of Riverbank Golf and RV Park

 

Whether you are looking for a day trip round or a week of golf and sun, the Athabasca Region has multiple choices for a great golf & stay getaway. Be sure to try them all!

It’s Events Season in the Athabasca Region!

Spring has sprung and folks in the Athabasca region are feeling their oats with how many events are happening! From Farmers’ Markets to jet boat rallies to music festivals, there is plenty to do in the region this June and July!

 

Spring Fling – May 28 & June 4

Hosted by the Boyle and District Agricultural Society, the Spring Fling Barrel Racing series showcases some of the best barrel racers in the area. The riders compete for a jackpot prize every Sunday in May. The event features adults, youth and pee-wee competitors and their amazing horses. Sure to offer exciting racing action!

The races run from 10 am to 4 pm at the Boyle Rodeo Grounds, just east of the Village of Boyle.

Learn More Here

 

Rotary Golf Classic – June 2

The Rotary Club of Athabasca is gearing up for their 21st Annual Golf Classic. Held at the beautiful Athabasca Golf and Country Club, this annual event offers a day of fun, food and prizes. The challenging course keeps golfers on their toes amidst the Boreal Forest backdrop.

This fundraising event allows the Rotary Club to support community projects and initiatives to better the quality of life in the community.

If you didn’t get a chance to register for this year’s event, be sure to mark your calendar for next year.

Instagram Profile

 

Jet Boat Rally – June 3

Get your motors running for the annual Athabasca River Jet Boat Rally and Poker Run! This year the event is hosted by the Athabasca Riverboat Association.

The event starts off at the Athabasca Riverfront Park, with registration happening at 10 am until 12 pm. Then the boats launch off for their poker run, picking up cards at 5 spots. The boats end up at the Riverside Recreation Area for food, live music and camping.

The next day, the Arnold Gorski Memorial Jet Boat Rodeo gives the boaters a chance to show off their skills.

 

 

 

The Play That Goes Wrong – June 9, 10, 11

Looking for a fun date night? Come out and experience “The Play That Goes Wrong” performed and produced by the Big River Arts Society. The Play That Goes Wrong was originally produced and performed on the West End Stage and on Broadway.

“An unconscious leading lady, a corpse who can’t play dead, a ruffled detective, and a word-mangling butler and others must battle against technical gaffes, forgotten lines, and sabotaging scenery in a quest to arrive all in one piece at the final curtain call.”

Start the evening with drinks and a delicious dinner at the Athabasca Seniors Centre. Then wander over to the Nancy Appleby Theatre to take in the show.

Purchase Tickets and Learn More Here

 

Athabasca University Homecoming – June 17

June 17 is going to be a big day in Athabasca! Come out and help Athabasca University’s Graduating Class of 2023 celebrate their convocation! Students, friends and family will take part in a day of activities ranging from campus tours, swimming at the Athabasca Regional Multiplex, a street dance, a BBQ contest and the Athabasca Farmers’ Market.

See the Schedule

AU Students Celebrate Convocation

Students and their guests will be arriving from Edmonton around 10 am for campus tours, lawn games with staff and faculty and activities at the Athabasca Regional Multiplex. Then the celebrations move to Downtown Athabasca for the Farmers Market, checking out Downtown businesses and the Alley Cat Street Dance.

Alley Cat Street Dance

The Alley Cat Street Dance is being presented by the Athabasca Chamber of Commerce and the Athabasca Advocate newspaper. They will be taking over 49th Street with all sorts of festival activities.

There will be local dance troupes performing, a cat adoption event, garage sale tables and businesses and non-profits with displays and sales.

Kick Off Summer

The Athabasca District Ag Society is celebrating the Summer with its “Kick Off Summer” event.

If you love BBQ, then one of the main attractions at the Kick-Off will be the “Show Us Your Meat” BBQ Ribs contest. Contestants will be slow cooking their ribs for the glory of the Best Ribs in Athabasca!

The rest of the activities include a bench show, petting zoo, kids rodeo, and equipment sales and displays. The 4H Club will be hosting the concession. This family-friendly event ends with a dance and cabaret!

Learn More Here

 

 

National Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration – June 21

Join the Athabasca Native Friendship Centre in celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day!

Starting at 4 pm, at the Athabasca Riverfront Park, there will be a free BBQ, door prizes, arts and crafts for the kids and Indigenous dancers and drummers performing.

 

The Magnificent River Rats Festival – June 30/July 1

One of the Athabasca Region’s cornerstone events is the Magnificent River Rats Festival! This annual event is 26 years running and showcases national and local talent, and celebrates Canada Day.

The two-day celebration centred at the Athabasca Riverfront Park offers performances on the Riverfront Stage, a Farmers’ market, kids’ activities, a beer garden, an art show and sale, a classic car show and more!

Day one, June 30, will be Rock themed with a Heart tribute band, Punch Drunk Cabaret and with Jimmy and the Sleepers headlining. Day two, Canada Day, is country themed with Duane Steele headlining.

Purchase Tickets and Learn More Here

 

 

Celebrate the Athabasca!

The history of the Athabasca River is part of the history of the Indigenous Peoples and explorers who used it as a transportation route for trade.

One of the settlements along the river,  Fort Assiniboine, is celebrating its bi-centennial. To help mark the occasion the Canadian Voyageur Brigade Society will be travelling on the river and making stops along the way.

The final stop will be the Athabasca Riverfront Park, where Town officials will be welcoming them ashore.

Learn more about the history of the river, Athabasca Landing and the people who travelled here at this family-friendly event. There will be entertainment and refreshments.

 

Athabasca Airport Fly-in BBQ – July 15

Another long-standing event in the Athabasca region is the Athabasca County Fly-in BBQ held at the Athabasca Regional Airport.

“Each year the Athabasca County Fly-In Barbecue includes more people from the aviation community and the local community. The Fly-In sees over 1,000 people attend the event and pilots “Fly-In” from all over Alberta. Incredible! Those who attend are welcome to check out some aircraft, displays, cars, and activities for the kids and learn about our airport.”

Starting at 11 am, pilots and guests can take in an airshow, free BBQ, a car show and much more.

Learn More Here

 

Farmers’ Markets

Athabasca Famers’ Market – Saturdays 10 – 2 PM

During the summer months, the Athabasca Farmers’ Market is held outdoors at the Riverfront Park from 10 am to 2 pm.

Spend the afternoon checking out artisan crafts, locally grown food and yummy treats.

Facebook Page

Boyle Farmers’ Market – Thursdays 12 – 3 PM

The Boyle Farmers’ Market is held every Thursday from noon to 3 pm at the Boyle Community Centre. Enjoy home baking, crafts and local produce.

Facebook Page

 

Coming Up In August and September

Some upcoming events to watch for are:

  • The Rochester Fair
  • Boyle Fiesta Days
  • The Boyle Wildberry Festival
  • Kapâwinihk Wilderness Triathlon

Be sure to check our Events Calendar regularly to stay up to date with events happening in the Athabasca Region. We update it every Friday. You can also submit your own event here. All submitted events require admin approval.

 

So if you are looking for a fun weekend or day trip, keep the Athabasca region in mind! Not only do we have spectacular Nature, and deep History but Events that will keep you entertained all summer long!


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Wilderness Experiences in the Athabasca Region

Photo: Grand Rapids Wilderness Adventures

Getting Wild

The Athabasca region is uniquely situated on the Alberta Boreal forest’s lower edge and bisected by the Athabasca River. There are many areas that boast untouched forests, pristine lakes, abundant wildlife and other natural features that offer travellers a taste of the Alberta wilderness.

Just an hour and a half north of Edmonton and 4.5 hours from Calgary, the Athabasca region makes for an easy wilderness getaway for all skill levels. Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities…

 

 

Grand Rapids Wilderness Adventures

One of the premiere wilderness experiences in the Athabasca region is heading down the Athabasca River by jet boat to the Grand Rapids Wilderness Adventures lodge. Your hosts, Darcy and Shirley Zelman will show you the rarely visited natural and historic sites on this stretch of the Athabasca River.

You’ll meet up in the town of Athabasca and travel for approximately 5 hours downriver, stopping to check out multiple sites. The first stop is an area with real old-growth forests where some of the trees are hundreds of years old and so big you can’t wrap your arms around them.

Next, you’ll stop to check out an abandoned Hudson’s Bay trading post. There are a lot of relics left behind displaying the history of the Athabasca River being an important transportation route in early Canada.

Don’t be surprised if there are stops to view the Boreal species that inhabit the area like wolves, bears, moose, deer and raptors to name a few, as the river valley has abundant and varied wildlife.

Your hosts will set you up in a cozy cabin and provide delicious meals to keep you energized for your adventure. You’ll be kept busy with opportunities to fish on the river or paddle around in a canoe.

One of the best features of this trip is the Grand Rapids themselves. A unique geological occurrence created these rapids:

The rapids are a result of river erosion of the 110-million-year-old sandstone of the Grand Rapids Formation. This formation, which forms the large, nearly vertical outcrop on the east side of the valley, is divided into three major sandstone layers. The lowermost level creates the rapids because it is filled with large, two-to-three-metre wide concretions that often contain pieces of petrified logs. These concretions were formed in a similar fashion to those at Red Rock Coulee. As the river erodes away the sand matrix, these huge concretions come loose and dam the river bed. – A Traveller’s Guide to Geological Wonders in Alberta by Ron Mussieux and Marilyn Nelson

GRWA offers a variety of packages. Be sure to book early, as this exclusive adventure fills up quickly.

 

Check out the videos produced by “Let’s Go Outdoors” on their experience with Grand Rapids Wilderness Adventures:

Episode 1: https://youtu.be/eSDvmqSC2go
Episode 2: https://youtu.be/K491X3ih0lo
Episode 3: https://youtu.be/KnT5X1DdZaI

Grand Rapids Wilderness Adventures Online:

www.athabasca-river.com
www.facebook.com/Athabasca.River

 

 

The La Biche River Wildland

Just to the northeast of the town of Athabasca lies the La Biche River Wildland. This pristine natural area is only accessible through Poachers Landing.

There are over 17,000 hectares of undisturbed Boreal forest:

La Biche River Wildland Park protects an undisturbed native boreal forest landscape that consists of wetlands and dense forests of poplar, aspen, spruce, birch and fir. The area provides habitat for black bears, lynxes, wolverines, woodland caribou, moose and beaver. – Alberta Parks

There are no formal campgrounds here, other than at Poachers Landing, but backcountry camping is allowed all year long. Other activities include OHV use (please stay on trails to protect this sensitive area), horseback riding, hiking, boating, snowshoeing and more. Special permits are required for fishing, hunting, guiding and other activities.

The Poacher’s Landing campground has 6 unserviced sites and is a first come, first served campsite. There is a boat launch into the Athabasca River, a cookhouse and restrooms. It opens on May 20 and closes on September 20.

https://albertaparks.ca/parks/north/la-biche-river-wpp/information-facilities/

 

 

The Peace River Wilderness Trail

map of the Peace River TrailPart of the Trans Canada Trail includes the Peace River Wilderness trail that runs from just north of Athabasca to northeast of Smith, AB. This route was first used by the Indigenous peoples of the area. With the advance of colonial traders, settlers and the gold rush, Euro-Canadian explorers used this trail as a route north.

Spectacular wilderness area with interesting native flora and fauna and views of the Athabasca River. Moose, elk, deer, wolves, black bears and most boreal mammals are abundant. Bald eagles and other raptors make their permanent home in this area. The trail itself was part of one of the principal routes attempted by gold seekers headed to the Klondike in 1898-99 and was a primary settlement path followed by pioneering farming families to the Peace River country until approximately 1920 when it was superseded by the railway. Remnant historical sites located along the trail include gravesites and the Tomato Creek stopping house (developed by the Goodwins in 1910), portrayed in the movie, “Silence of the North.” – http://www.albertatrailnet.com/

The trail follows the Athabasca River through some old-growth Boreal forest. Expect wildlife like bears, wolves, moose, deer, and other Boreal species. It is approximately 60 km from trailhead to trailhead. Permitted uses include hiking, cross-country skiing, bicycles, horses, snowmobiles, and all-terrain vehicles.

The southern trailhead is approximately 30 km north of the Town of Athabasca. There is some parking at each trailhead, and there are three unserviced campsites along the route. Please pack out all garbage and stay on the marked trail. Be bear smart when storing food.

http://www.albertatrailnet.com/for-trail-users/trans-canada-trail/fact-sheets/peace-river-wilderness-trail/ 

 

 

White Earth Valley Natural Area

If back-country camping isn’t your speed, the White Earth Natural Area provides a Boreal wilderness experience with the comfort of a campground nearby in Long Lake Provincial Park. It is located about 110 km north of Edmonton on Highway 831, which is accessible from Highway 63 North. It’s about 20 km south of the village of Boyle, where you can stock up on supplies.

The White Earth Trail is 17 km long.  The path winds through a wide variety of rich habitats, where an abundance of diverse plants and wildlife thrive.  It’s accessible from adjacent Long Lake Provincial Park during operating season (May to October), with parking at the trailhead.  The trail can also be accessed year-round from Township Road 621 at the southern end of the Natural Area. – Alberta Parks

The White Earth Valley NA is adjacent to thousands of hectares of undisturbed Boreal forest which promotes great habitat for many Boreal species, including bears and wolves. Use caution around wildlife and be bear-smart with food storage.

https://www.albertaparks.ca/parks/north/white-earth-valley-na/

 

 

Hubert Lake Wildland Provincial Park

The Hubert Lake Wildland Provincial Park is about an hour southwest of Athabasca and about 2 hours northwest of Edmonton. The Hubert Lake WPP offers kilometres of trails through a central mixed-wood boreal landscape. The Athabasca River is on the west border and the Pembina River is on the east.

Hubert Lake Wildland Park consists of a sand dune complex and numerous small lakes and wetlands. Jack pine is the dominant tree species on the dunes. Itervening depressions support black spruce and larch, with open fens in wetter areas. The park is an important nesting area for great blue herons and sandhill cranes. A small caribou herd wanders in and out of the park.

Backcountry camping is allowed, with two unofficial sites on the map. OHVs are permitted on designated trails only. Off-trail use is prohibited.

Learn more here:  https://www.albertaparks.ca/parks/north/hubert-lake-wpp/

 

 

Otter-Orloff Lakes Wildland Provincial Park

The Otter-Orloff Lakes Wildland Provincial Park is about an hour north of Athabasca, 2.5 hours north of Edmonton and 3 hours southwest of Fort McMurray.

The “road” to Orloff Lake only goes a portion of the way. In dry weather, this road is good but dead ends near Rock Island Forestry Tower. When the road is wet, it can be very slick and muddy. The remaining trail into Orloff Lake is approximately 4 km, accessible by ATV or foot only. This trail can be in very poor condition when wet. In dry conditions, it is a fair trail at best (lots of mud holes and trail braiding). Only the last 400 meters of this trail is within the park. There has been no trail maintenance.

Wetlands and forests in this park support a variety of wildlife. Lakes contain walleye, pike, perch and lake whitefish and are important habitat for beaver, muskrat and waterfowl. Orloff Lake has a great blue heron colony. Younger forests in the park contain white spruce and aspen. Mature forests contain birch and balsam poplar. White spruce and balsam fir dominate old growth stands. Black spruce and larch occur in wet areas.

Random backcountry camping is allowed. Learn more about permitted activities here: https://www.albertaparks.ca/parks/north/otter-orloff-lakes-wpp/

 

If you have questions about wilderness experiences in the Athabasca region or anything else Athabasca Region Tourism-related contact us here.